BLACK NIGHT OF BLACK OMENS
“The night has already advanced. It is not so cold for all the clothes that obscure our image, but that does not matter, the wind refreshes our rapid advance. We are on time. Everything so far goes well. We are alone, alone as ever and as always. Through the gloomy and battered streets we surround the prison factory. We approach. The next stop is near. In my mind I review the agreed plan … “
- “A greeting from Libertad” – (1)
After a holiday that anticipated a long weekend for many, the city of Santiago went to sleep in the cold early morning of May 22, 2009. A sector of Avenida Matta remained quiet, away from the lights and bustle of business premises. Only two cyclists advance as diffuse silhouettes for different security cameras.
The advance is interrupted when the silhouettes are separated and one of them gets off the bike to fix something in their backpack. A large flash then cuts the footage.
The noise of a powerful explosion echoes through the streets, confusion awakens the place, launching police alerts.
In the middle of Ventura Lavalle Street, almost on the corner with Artemio Gutiérrez, a body already lifeless is wrapped in a trail of gunpowder, beside a revolver with a single bullet, beyond a black bicycle waiting to continue the trip. Only a few meters away is the Gendarmerie School, where the jailers receive indoctrination and specialization.
The police, the press, firemen and neighbors are taking over the place. After the initial confusion, the first inspections give light of what happened. A man had been killed by the detonation of an explosive device he was carrying, the target of the attack was the jailers’ compound.
Photographers of the press approach the body and record the first images, broadcast without a filter to terrorize, macabre and false details spread by the media as the hours pass.
After cordoning off the area, the criminalist team of Carabineros goes collecting the evidence, photographing and assigning a number to each piece raised. As there was no identification document, they make fingerprint registration to find the identity. They get it in the course of the morning.
The dead man is Mauricio Morales, 27, an anarchist, whose file includes arrests in anarchist demonstrations. By the press his tattoos are described with meticulousness. It is almost noon on May 22, 2009.
The first raids on his blood family begin. The hunt is already unleashed.
“If the press had been able to shed blood through the screen, I would have done it, but even so, that blood would have continued to be a warrior, never subdued and that high pride was what bothered them the most”
- Macul with Greece- (2)
The communication companies spared no adjectives to describe the place, inventing rough passages. The exhibition of the body and its wounds reached levels that are only understood within the logic of state terrorism.
At 1:30 p.m., in the mid-day newscasts, they spread the identity of Mauri, with his passport photograph, also indicating that he belonged to a group occupying a squatter house in the center of Santiago.
For months, the police investigations into the series of explosive attacks against symbols of power and banking had focused their sights on squatting, especially in some, where propaganda and anarchic agitation were constant.
Then, almost simultaneously with the delivery of the name of Mauri, two raids occur in downtown Santiago. Carabineros raided a private house, which functioned as a social center and the Investigative Police raided the squat “La Idea,” from where detainees were taken.
News teams televised and covered the raids, while talking about “advances in research.” Among pompous declarations, they affirm that the comrade of Mauri, who fled wounded, would be identified and their capture was described as “imminent.”
The Investigative Police took the detained comrades to one of their barracks; there they tried to interrogate some of them. They were asked about the person accompanying Mauri. They asked for a name that at least they “imagined” that it could be, to which they were denied sharply. They were thus pressured “if they do not cooperate we will show them photographs of how the body was.” For the police, Mauri’s body became a trophy, with which they wanted to hit the whole environment.
There was a media feast with the death of Mauri, inquiring about his life, his family, his behavior in the university and even highlighting that he maintained debts with a commercial house, looking to ridicule him at all costs.
Teams of a television channel were approaching the compañerxs and family that waited for the delivery of the body in the outskirts of the Legal Medical Service; they tried to get an interview with the same old and hackneyed argument “we want to give them the opportunity to defend him, to explain what he did, they are saying very ugly things… ” They kicked and shoved them back.
The same night of May 22 from a news channel appeared a crude interview of two alleged comrades of Mauri, who with their faces covered and with distorted voice would account for the “plan” of the comrade, with an absurd and meaningless script. This is perhaps one of the most pathetic and pitiful passages, which serves as a barometer of hatred inspired by the figure of anyone who attempts, even at the risk of their life, to oppose those that dominate and their order.
IN DEFENSE OF A COMRADE
“Comrades, we are very clear and aware of what is going to happen now, we know that difficult days and months are coming. But we also know that the pain and sadness of our brother’s departure can not paralyze us. We remember insistently that he died in combat, that the offensive has various forms, that no one is worth more than another. We appeal then, that the beautiful flame of his anarchist heart propagate the irreducible desire to annihilate this reality.
His body today remains a prisoner in the hands of the police and his mercenaries, but the energy of his life remains with us, with the comrades who together with him and in different ways confronted those that want to transform us into slaves.”
- “A warrior has died but our fire does not go out” – (3)
The two raided houses were about 15 blocks away, in the middle of both was the Social Center Okupado and Sacco and Vanzetti library, a place where Mauri lived and whose comrades decided to face the possible raid and shake the waters of memory.
Encapuchadxs (“hooded ones”) from the roof faced the first police cars that arrived at the place, in minutes, the street was cordoned off, while the press staked out the best places.
But as the carrion arrived, comrades were also arriving, from different points, many compas were present, many who did not know Mauri, but were moved by a genuine solidarity impulse and decided to contribute.
At mid afternoon the first clashes with the press are recorded–memorable is the beating of a television crew, which moments after generated the arrest of some compañerxs. With daring, the press was expelled from the place, bringing out complicity, resistance and the offensive.
It was not about defending a house or the comrades who from the roof challenged the power, it was about defending the memory of Mauri, cutting off the stillness of May 22. A comrade had left, a brother, but it was not tears that were going to be given to the press and the police: there was pain, but there was no defeat.
An urgent and collective feeling of defense of the comrade was the spark that lit the fuse; Mauri unwittingly operated as a catalyst for anarchic sedition.
Perhaps the beauty of that long day full of chaotic feelings is in the way of facing the death blow and the police hunt.
Instead of silence, submission and retreat, the response was resistance and offensive, expelling the press from the outskirts of the Sacco and Vanzetti squat, joining several comrades to build barricades and face the police attack.
That is the beauty of confrontation. Just in moments where the powerful and their multiple characters yearned to see defeat expanded, the bold way to face that moment was the best propaganda of anarchy and companionship.
After 10 PM, almost a hundred comrades were meeting in front of the “Sacco,” from one of its windows a speaker played the music that Mauri listened to, the songs he sang when his voice (and laughter) accompanied the night.
Understanding the progress of the police cars, the comrades in the street decided to go out to raise barricades throughout the neighborhood. A combat that lasted for hours began, moving around the sector, looking for the main arteries. It was a night of multiple flares.
There were detainees, fellow combatants and various attempts by the Carabineros to enter the squat, but even when they threw water and gases, they finally did not enter. From the roof they waited anxiously …
In the early morning lights, the barricades still smoked and every wall in the neighborhood remembered Mauri. The seed of black memory was thus sown.
“Today, the State, the police, the economic and intellectual management of this country show their ineptitude by attacking houses, raising crude statements, repeating the images of blatant political persecution–whether democratic or dictatorial does not matter.”
- “A greeting of freedom” – (4)
Hundreds of comrades came to the funeral from different corners, many still without declaring complete affinity with the ideas and actions of Mauri, demonstrated with their sole presence respect, solidarity and camaraderie.
Again in moments where the “rational” dictated to take shelter, as far as possible so as not to be hit with the police attack, anarchists gathered to dismiss the physical body of the comrade.
Canvases, hoods and will were accompanied by the coffin that, very much in line with Mauri’s ideas, had an engraving that read “Neither god nor master.” The blood family decided to get out of the cars and walk along the road to the cemetery, advancing together with all the comrades. The aim was to prevent the police cars from cutting off and isolating the coffin at all costs.
After the funeral some barricades were erected in the vicinity of the cemetery, without there being any arrests at the site. The press watched from a distance, being able to obtain some near images only in the outskirts of the house of the blood family.
The echoes of the clashes after the death of Mauri overcame any distance, taking the news to different territories, from where they were expressing solidarity, contributing to the expansion of memory.
The police and journalistic presence around squatting was permanent, intensifying the controls that existed before 22 May. The power, through harassment, sought to provoke the closure of the spaces, because it understood the contribution they meant for the propagation of anti-authoritarian ideas / actions.
Carabineros and the Police of Investigations disputed the protagonism in the case, elaborating different theories, that finally implied the presence of both policemen in the environment of Mauri. Even so, no path led to his companion.
The break between the blood family and Mauri’s comrades that the police could not achieve at first was obtained over the months. Police psychologists were advising the blood family, taking advantage of them, guiding and guiding their pain towards the path that suited the investigation.
So finally, from a family member, the police obtain a statement with a list of people possibly accompanying Mauri, who would also be “guilty” of their decision to attack, their ideas and actions against the authority.
All this would be known only in 2010, when in the framework of the infamous “Bombs Case,” many of their comrades faced accusations from the power.
In a twisted and contrived thesis of the prosecution, there was an illicit terrorist organization, with a criminal plan studied to spread terror through direct actions. In this organization there were supposed leaders and a defined structure, with established roles. And as the icing on the cake, the prosecution argued that to carry out the “criminal plan” those accused raised “facades” of squatting, called in fiscal delirium as centers of power.
Mauri and 14 other compañerxs were organized as part of this illicit terrorist organization. During the endless audiences is where the declaration of part of the blood family comes to light. It was a hard and bitter moment, because beyond all the media and police feast after his death, finally part of his nuclear family not only trampled his life and anarchic values, but also denied his individual strength and collaborated with the eternal enemies of Mauri: the defenders of authority.
At a distance of years, the course of events may seem tragicomic, with its twists and turns of investigation, but the truth is that they managed to dismantle environments, with fear and wear, and also evicted the squat. More than 10 compañerxs from Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested for several months; they extended the trial for more than a year and during the trial they exhibited-once again-photographs of Mauri’s dead body, detailing each wound. It is without a doubt regrettable that this last fact did not find resistance, however minimal.
Finally, the trial ended with the acquittal of all the accused. Thus, for that moment, the attempt to judicialize a wide anarchic environment and to resolve, at least by police, the death of Mauri ended.
THE BLACK MEMORY
“When death unexpectedly surprises us, it’s the people who wonder about the “meaning” of these deaths… The dead cannot answer us; only their lives and actions can give us clues about what motivated our brothers to be as they were…”
- Gabriel Pombo da Silva- (5)
A little over three months after his death, his squatting comrades edited a text, compiling a large part of his writings, songs, stories and poems. The intention is to collectively share their reflections and ideas, so that they can spread to other comrades and Mauri will not remain locked in his inner circle.
In the middle of the hunt, in a generous gesture, different compañerxs were contributing with songs, writings, interviews or letters that had left. Mauri was not a treasure that had to be kept for himself, hiding it from the eyes of the rest, nor was he the martyred hero whose figure was rising above others. It was the opposite and he was always claimed as a comrade.
After the journalistic attack, with its multiple defamations, among pompous police statements that tried to describe him, it was important to rescue the comrade. Avoid reinterpretations and make it possible for Mauri himself in the first person through his multiple writings, to be closer to other comrades and environments.
There are compañerxs whose deaths are explained by the life they decided to live. The gesture of editing a book with his writings, is framed precisely in enabling those who were not close to the comrade, to know the transit of his way, the different paths that led him to be who he was, the life decisions that finally bring him closer to death.
Thus Punky Mauri was expanding among comrades, traveling thousands of kilometers, speaking different languages, but with a common black language. Their experiences, values and ideas flew, tearing down the borders of time and geography. There was decision and persistence in which the flame of his life did not go out.
The black memory was acquiring wide and varied ways to spread and infect new comrades. In that transit, every gesture was and is a contribution. Without leaders, we are all called to tirelessly seek to contribute to this propagation, in the way we create most accurately. There is not an official memory, but multiple gestures to continue the way that Anarchy lives.
THE STEP OF THE YEARS
“Four years? I think it’s an infinity, but it was also nothing when Culmine sent me the news of that May 22, along with a newspaper clipping with his photo. Just a piece of paper, an image already marked by time, destined quickly to decompose? Yes, but also much more!
It is the symbol of an indelible memory, it is a dear and intimate image, one of the truly few that up to now, always remains stuck to the wall of the cell. It is a symbol of a relationship with the warrior Mauri and his warrior tribe, imprinted with fire always quiet and secure in my heart and in my mind. Beyond any border, distance, repression, and death! “
- Marco Camenisch- (6)
It is already 10 years since Mauri’s death; it is almost inevitable to do a retrospective, analyze how it happened and face different facts.
To rescue of the beauty of certain moments of confrontation, highlighting the permanent presence of solidarity, agitation and the spread of memory.
There have not been 10 years of quiet or silent memory, it has been a time where collective memory gestures have been raised from different territories, as an idea / action that tends to propagate the life that Mauri was forging, his decision to confront the established, his active negation of any authority, at the same time that inseparably Anarchy and Chaos continue spreading like vital force.
The departure of Mauri became the meeting point between many other comrades. A meeting point to take off to new challenges; there lies the vitality of memory: it is not the static photography of a moment of confrontation; it is the present that we are building, nourished by the experiences of other comrades, as well as our own interests and longings. So we are projecting the way.
After the passage of death and the police hunt, we affirm ourselves in the proud decision not to back down, nourishing the smile with the certainty that power could impose neither silence nor submission. It could not stop the offensive dimension of our black memory, which fights resignation and fear, only functional to authority.
Punky Mauri has been present on the street all this time, because those who remember him are not far from the paths of struggle, a memory does not rise from the path of comfort, but from the very terrain of combat against domination.
There has been no victimization, nor any attempt to whitewash his memory. Mauri is not the innocent who falls into a montage, he was an anarchic being who dared to challenge the imposed. He died as he chose to live. He is not a hero or an idealized martyr, he is just another companion, with defects and virtues, successes and mistakes, whose life decisions were spreading fire in anarchic hearts.
In these years there have been various repressive moves, many comrades have been imprisoned, some have managed to get out of the cages, others have received long sentences. Some compañerxs have gone, they have tired, others are coming and in their happy rage they bring new energy.
Many of those who today actively remember Mauri have known him after his death, feeling close and comradely through what he was forging in life. There has been a generational transfer of memory, like a black fiber that connects us and our brother. On the street today he continues laughing in other laughs, with total vitality. His ideas are still tools with which to resist and attack what they try to submit to us.
Ten years after his death, Mauri remains among us, impregnated with new accomplices. He is still present in the fight, generating the contempt of the police and the press, we see it in its crude exposure and discredit campaigns.
Years go by, but our dead in war are still with us.
Good Trip Mauri
Nothing has finished, everything continues
“Something always remains. They say that ideas are indelible. Here and there and everywhere. Not just you, not just us, all of you. All and forever. We still have a way ahead. “(7)
(1) Communiqué written by three action groups on May 23, 2009, greeting companion Mauricio Morales.
(2) Excerpted from the book “Macul con Grecia. Fire in the hands against the Authority.”
(3) Communiqué written by the Social Center Okupado Sacco and Vanzetti on May 22, 2009.
(4) Communiqué written by three action groups on May 23, 2009, greeting companion Mauricio Morales.
(5) Text published in 2013.
(6) Text published in 2013.
(7) Writings of comrades Yanis Skuludis, Sokratis Tzifkas (Avlona Minors Prison), Mpampis Tsilianidis, Dimitris Dimtsiadis (Koridallos Prison). May 22, 2011.